Listen. I love Adam Breneman. I want to spend my senior season at Penn State watching him start on a path that could possibly lead to him being the best tight end in the country in his junior or senior year. I want to be able to sit back and say to my children that I watched Adam Breneman play football at PSU (even if he is afraid of playing me in a game of NCAA 13).
However, despite what I want, I think it would be in the best interest of Penn State if they redshirted Breneman this season.
I know, I know. We want to see him play because we're all selfish poopheads that care more about seeing a phenom play in 2013 over everything else. The fact of the matter is, Breneman is going to be a freshman (hard) who is coming off of an ACL tear (harder) trying to learn one of the most complex offenses in America if you're a tight end (hardest).
It's easy for us to be armchair QB's and say, "hey, he can play right away, he's 100 percent healthy!" But we don't know that. An ACL tear is a really, really sensitive issue. Once you tear it, you increase your chances of tearing it again, just look at what happened to Mauti. The best way to treat an ACL tear, and this is from a doctor who is also named "Bill DiFilippo," is for months of rehab before he even considers running on it the same way that he did pre-injury.
According to the doctor guy I know who pays for my tuition, Breneman probably won't be back to 100 percent until around September or October (unless, of course, he's some kind of superhuman freak of nature like Adrian Peterson). That doesn't mean in game shape, that means his knee will be ready to take the abuse that would come from working towards being in game shape.
Oh, and his response when I asked him when Breneman would be ready to play? "i wouldnt b surprised if he medical redshirts next year." (NOTE: my dad sucks at texting)
Could Breneman recover faster than expected, be 100 percent by July and work his way into game shape? Sure. But I don't think it's smart to risk it. Nor do I think it's necessary, especially because, you know, PSU is LOAAAAAADED at tight end.
Kyle Carter is one of the 5 or 10 best tight ends in the country. Jesse James is a matchup nightmare since, he's 11'8" (ok, I'm overestimating a bit). Matt Lehman is really good when officials aren't trying to screw him out of touchdowns in Nebraska (STILL BITTER). Brent Wilkerson was a three-star TE in 2012 and the #17 TE in the country. Even Paul Jon......oh my bad.
I am of the belief that you don't play a freshman unless you absolutely have to. Look at that depth chart, does Breneman absolutely need to play? He's not going to be a recruit at a position where PSU could use some depth (see: Kasey Gaines or the Smiths in the defensive backfield), and he's not a once-in-a-generation talent who could make PSU immediately better by playing from day one (see: Williams, Derrick or King, Justin). He's an injured recruit who plays at PSU's deepest position.
Do I want Breneman to play next year? Yes. Is it selfish that I do? Absolutely. It's probably not in the best interest of the 2013 team, but getting to see a potential All-American is something that everyone wants to see. The sooner, the better.
However, this is about what's best for Penn State down the road. And down the road, it is better for Adam Breneman to redshirt, come back at 100 percent and take the country by storm. Let him rest. Let him work back to 100 percent. And in 2014, let him destroy college football.
Now play me in NCAA, dammit. YOU CAN'T RUN FOREVER, BRENEMAN.